Earlier in the month I had chance to see one of my favorite bands again – The Church. This Australian band has been producing amazing music for many many years – but it was 1988 when I first took notice with their hit song “Under The Milky Way” of the fantastic album Starfish. If you’re not familiar with the band, it might be time to go down the rabbit hole and do some exploring. Their discography is huge.
Peter Koppes (who I recently interviewed) and Marty Wilson Piper has been with the primary guitar players (off and on) throughout The Church’s run, but in 2013 Marty Wilson Piper was no longer a part of the band. Ian Haug joined in 2013 and has been doing an absolute brilliant job on guitar both live and in the studio – recently recording Further/Deeper.
At the recent show I had a chance to sit down and talk with Peter Koppes (you can read the interview here) and had a few moments with Ian Haug. We planned on doing a full sit down interview, but time wasn’t on our side. I put some questions together and sent them to him over email, and he was kind enough to answer them! But first.. let’s take a look at his pedalboard!
Ian Haug Pedalboard
Strymon Deco Delay (Ian – just on the acoustic 12 string . My acoustic also runs through the amps as well as the DI so that I can fade it in with the volume pedal if i want a little extra something.)
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah
Analogman King of Tone
T-Rex Comp Nova
Electro-Harmonix Micro POG
Strymon Timeline Delay
Boss TU-2 Tuner
Toyroom Effects MFZ-1 (Ian – It wasn’t expensive…. but it makes everything go to 11 That’s also on my “impro” loop..)
Strymon El Capistan
Way Huge Swollen Pickle
Bank Pedal – left of GigRig (Ian – that changes up through the banks on the G2. With the chip upgrade now there are 8 banks rather than just the initial two when it came out. This is fun…. because i can mess with lots of stuff on the back end ones…. and my live setup stays the same in the first two banks.)
Ian – The Pedal Empire in Brisbane helped me put it together and wire it all up neatly with top notch custom patch leads etc.
Ian Haug Interview
EB: How did you get The Church gig?
IH: i guess it all came down to one phone call. I had known Steve for many years both through playing on festivals, and also through mutual friend Grant McLennan. When Grant passed away. we caught up at his funeral, and I called him on several late nights after that to discuss “life”. When Marty was not available… a friend of Steves had suggested me, as my band Powderfinger had just called it a day and I was available so to speak. Steve called me when I was stuck in traffic by myself between a funeral service and a wake. I ordinarily wouldn’t have answered the phone to anyone else…but was intrigued as to what Steve wanted. He pretty much said “Ian – If I was to ask you to join The Church – what would you say?”. I said “I would probably say yes”. He said “okay – Bye”. and he hung up. I was left in the traffic to digest that. Before I knew it …. within a month we were in a studio writing songs for Further Deeper. I have done hundreds of gigs with them now…and look forwards to making another new record very soon.…
EB: What was your primary concern about picking up some of the guitar duties?
IH: I didn’t really have one. I knew there would be harsh critics of whatever I did because MWP [Marty Wilson Piper] fans are so loyal. I knew that I didn’t want to even try and duplicate what Marty did. I have always been a fan of his playing …. so some of that must have rubbed off over the years. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to use a Rickenbacker or a Vox….. because they are his signature weapons. I wanted to do my own thing. Making a new record definitely made it easier to do so…. rather than just trying to play his parts all of the time.
EB: From an effects point of view, what was your major concern about signing on to The Church? Were there any particular tones/effects that you weren’t sure how they were produced?
IH: I really didn’t know who was doing what on a lot of the records…. so I guess my concern was to identify where my “space” in the music was going to be in their back catalogue sounds. I knew that the orchestral sound was Peters….. and pretty much apart from that I was given open slather to do whatever I wanted. Reverb is very important in my mind for the Church…. so I got a BigSky Pedal….. and added that to the guitarsinal and then it was just running with whatever seemed right. I don’t use as much chorus as Marty did.
EB: You and Peter both share roles of lead and rhythm work. Are there particular philosophies working with Peter both creatively in the studio and in live performances?
IH: I would say my one and only philosophy is to listen closely to what Peter is doing … and really to what all of the rest of the band is doing ….. so that I don’t tread on their musical toes. My monitor mix is pretty much a mini PA of the whole band…. including all samples, keys, guitars…. EVERYTHING. and then I try and colour within those boundaries. In the studio…. It was similar…. Peter really let me / encouraged me to go for it. Quite a few of the songs come from my initial jams…. so it was exciting to be made feel a part of the creative process immediately.
EB: What are the notes indicating on the G2? “G C Bm C F G Bm Em F C G”
IH: Ha! You noticed that. I am tempted to keep it a secret….. but actually … its just the bridge/solo section of “almost with you”. For some reason that section alludes me if we haven’t played the song for a while. Its my safety net. Kind of my only cheat note.
EB: Are all pedals routed into the G2 or do you have some that our on the outside of the G2 controller? If so, why are they routed on the outside?
IH: they are all within the G2 … but there are a few that are all on the same loop. sort of like my improvisation loop. the wah wah, some gains, and the El Capistan delay. that way…. I can add some more spice without changing patch.
EB: GigRig make some outstanding equipment. Are you using GigRig power supplies as well?
IH: yep. i am very happy with all their stuff. buffers…. power…. everything. and even more importantly whenever i have had trouble with something on the G2 I have contacted them, and they respond almost immediately and talk me through it. amazing service.!!!
EB: I see you’re using an older version of the T-Rex Comp-Nova. Is there a particular reason you’re using this version – just something you’ve had a long time or do you prefer this pedal compared the current version?
IH: The compressor on my pedal board is the only thing that really changes. I still have not settled on how I want to use compression. I would rather just alter the way I play. It is useful as a limiter when using ebow. The tree has the easiest knobs to see the position of in a live situation.
EB: The Fulltone Clyde wah is one of my favorite wah pedals. What pushed you in that direction over the Dunlop, Vox or Teese wahs?
IH: I like it…. but I don’t love it every gig. Sometimes the Dunlop would be less fussy. The controls on the Clyde have got me into trouble if i forget to soundcheck them. It seems to react to different amps/ gain structures quite radically. It has given me and the people in the front row a fright a couple of times. …. and I don’t like seeing the people infant of me recoiling in pain.
EB: I noticed you have some dirt/drive pedals from Analogman King of Tone to Fulltone OCD to Catalinbread DLS to the ProCo Rat. Why do you require a variety of these drive dirt pedals, and can you provide some examples of songs and what drives apply to them?
IH: I find that during different gigs / rooms/ equipment/ levels they all take on a different life. I will favour a particular pedal during certain shows. The Swollen Pickle does a great big muff thing though. no doubt about that! the analogue man is in the improv section so i can tap it on depending on which guitar I am using…. to give it more life. particularly at lower volumes. that thing is awesome. black magic. I am loving the Rat for creams sounding solos and elbows….. and the OCD makes things pop.
EB: With the Strymon Timeline and BigSky you have the ability of preset. For the Church, do you find yourself with a lot of settings and presets to bank through during a set?
IH: because the G2 controls all of the switching on those two and the mobs also…. I only have to hit the one button on that and it brings me to any particular sound i have worked on for specific songs. Particularly outdoors when you cant see the LED’s this makes life a lot easier.
EB: What you call the signature sound for The Church? Meaning if you could have only 1-3 pedals, what would be mandatory to achieve sounding like a The Church with a broad brush?
IH: Delay, Reverb, and Fuzz and I could make it through a show if I had to.
EB: Are there any pedals you’re thinking about replacing or adding on to the board? If so, why and what?
IH: I want to get my whammy pedal back on the board. Or perhaps the eventide. I wish that Strymon would make a pedal that did all of that. I fell for that hoax last year for a bit…. and got quite excited. That was a mean trick!!!!!
EB: Typically, I don’t talk about guitars too much with these interviews, but you have some very sweet guitars. First off, can you talk about the Rickenbacker. You don’t see that one every day!
IH: Its not a Rickenbacker. I didn’t want to get a Rickenbacker…. because that’s Marty’s thing. This green beast is a custom made mongrel between a Gretsch and a Rick…made by a fellow in Sydney called Piers Crocker. Its a really exciting guitar to play. An absolute pleasure. Clean… its gorgeous…. but it has a massive amount of the kerang factor when you want to get noisy.
EB: Also, over the last 3 years, I’ve been getting into offsets. Let’s talk about that Fender Jaguar. What’s the story on that?
IH: Ive had that Jag since 1999/2000 I think. I bought it new to use in Powdefinger. I love the versatility of it. And I love that it stays in tune with the tremolo after I replaced the bridge. Now the strings don’t fall off the edge of the neck either!!!!! I have also rewired the pickup selectors so that when you bump them all down…. which inevitably happens….. it doesn’t silence the whole rig. Seems to work better for me now that I’m used to that.
Here are some great photos of The Church by Amy Donovan Photography: